Influencing Consumers Towards Greater Sustainability
Neeru Paharia, Associate Professor of Marketing, Georgetown University
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Get to Know Me
I hold the rank of Associate Professor of marketing at Georgetown University. My passion is to understand how to motivate consumers towards greater sustainable consumption. In particular I consider the psychology of agency. Most consumers would not lock a person in their basement to make their clothes. However when a company uses questionable labor practices consumers feel less responsibility so it's easier psychologically to buy the clothes. Companies can help consumers feel responsible by connecting them to producers emotionally, or by using made-to-order production.
Consumers can also make a huge difference by "buying better and buying less." Companies should focus on making things like price-per-wear, and usage life more salient to consumers.
I study a variety of other contemporary consumer issues, such as brands taking on polarizing political positions, lobbying, wellness, busyness, and underdog branding.
My work has been profiled in a number of prominent media outlets (New York Times, NPR’s Morning Edition, Washington Post). Notably, my work was recently the subject of a full episode of NPR’s Hidden Brain, where we discussed how people use money to express their political views. Two of my papers were finalists for the Journal of Consumer Research's "Best Paper of the Year" award in 2014 and in 2020. I have also written for Harvard Business Review, and Sloan Management Review.
Prior to being a professor I worked for McKinsey and was on the founding team and former Executive Director of Creative Commons which now has over 1 billion openly-licensed works on the internet and is used by Google, whitehouse.gov, PLOS journals, and Wikipedia. I received my doctorate from Harvard Business School. Download my CV to learn more.